Why Choose a Specialized Agency Over a Full Service Ad Agency?
“If you’re having heart problems,
are you going to go to a general practitioner or a cardiologist?”
This is Hanapin’s VP of Revenue, Tom Hootman’s, go-to when our sales team gets asked the all too familiar question of why a potential client should choose a full service or specialty ad agency. There’s a certain degree of truth in that thought though; the cardiologist will have a much better understanding of the root cause of your problems and has significant experience diagnosing and solving them, whereas the general practitioner might have knowledge of basic heart problems, but will likely refer you to a specialist for anything more complex than heart burn. This focus is what sets the cardiologist apart; they live and breathe all things cardio all the time. Not only are they familiar with everything that has happened in the industry, they’re on the cutting edge of emerging trends, tools, and research in the one field they service. Focus is the reason Hanapin removed web development and SEO from its scope of work and specializes completely in PPC. It is the primary way we’re able to deliver 10x value to clients.
What is digital marketing? Ask 12 people and you’ll hear 12 different answers. Digital Marketing, according to Google, is an umbrella term for any marketing that uses technology, including but not limited to SEO, SEM, content marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, social media, display advertising, programmatic, and messenger based marketing. That is a mouthful, disregarding the fact one could go down a rabbit hole working on one of those pieces, let alone all of them. Now mix that with the larger advertising umbrella that includes creative, art, and media for television, radio, out of home, print, and every other medium out there and you quickly begin to wonder how a full-service ad agency can stay on the cutting edge of all of it. The short answer is they can’t. The longer answer is that traditional advertising (print, TV, radio) has been around for decades. It’s a field rife with trial-and-error, best and worst practices, and these full-service agencies have ample experience and knowledge of the industry in that regard. However, the digital space changes every day. Whether that’s new technologies, regulations, features, etc. the industry is consistently evolving, requiring agencies and advertisers to evolve with it.
The ongoing change is part of the reason we launched PPC Hero and Hero Conf. It’s Hanapin’s way of ensuring that our employees are constantly up-to-date on all things PPC so that we can educate each other and the industry on this constantly evolving space. It’s our way to show the industry that we’re hyper-focused on this one piece of digital marketing and it holds us accountable to make sure that’s true. The benefit of the latter is that we are often looked to for help managing this aspect of a business’s marketing efforts from their existing full-service agency.
As I was writing this post, I had to field not one, but two potential clients who were full-service digital agencies, meaning they offer everything from web development to creative services and everything in between, PPC included. These agencies know they could manage PPC for their clients, but either think a focused agency could do a more effective job, or they are simply looking to outsource one piece of their services to lighten the workload. Either way, even these agencies are looking towards specialists within a specific digital marketing field to help manage their account, which is just another signal of the migration from deluxe, full-service agencies like Ogilvy or JWT towards these boutique agencies that focus all their time and attention towards one piece of the ever-expanding digital marketing pie.
Whether you’re a Mom & Pop store looking to get started advertising on Google, a digital agency looking to outsource a piece of client work, or a Fortune 500 company, in today’s always-expanding and always-changing digital marketing landscape, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the changes within one field of work. The old adage of “Jack of all trades, master of none” is outdated, and I’d bet most people would venture to agree it’s better to be a master of one, than a jack of all trades. This is why specialty agencies have proliferated so much in the last decade, and it’s the reason that more and more businesses are looking to hire them.